This Week in Albany

Week ending June 29, 2018

Janus v AFSCME

This week, the United States Supreme Court overturned over forty years of precedent when it ruled against the union in Janus v AFSCME. The 5-4 decision provided that members of a public sector bargaining unit who choose not to join the union cannot be required to pay a “fair share” or “agency fee” for the costs of collective bargaining. The ruling essentially institutes a nation-wide “Right-to-Work” policy in the public sector.

This case was never anything other than an attack on labor unions and the voice they provide working men and women in the workplace.

CSEA President Danny Donohue said, “This case wasn’t about fairness or free speech. It was a scheme to destroy unions and silence working people. I can tell you right now, it’s not going to work. CSEA has been around for more than 100 years and we’re here to stay.”

CSEA has already begun fighting against these attacks on hardworking union members.

As part of the 2018-19 New York State budget, CSEA worked closely with Governor Cuomo to pass legislation to help fortify unions against this decision. That new law helps protect union members by:

  • Providing that public employee unions will not have to provide representation to non-members in any disciplinary cases as well as any legal, economic, or job-related services beyond those provided in the collective bargaining agreement. This will help our union focus our efforts on the members who Never Quit and stay with the union.
  • Requiring employers to notify the union when a new employee is hired and allow a union representative to meet with new employees.
  • Providing that when a member returns to work after a voluntary or involuntary leave, they will automatically be reinstated as members.

Further, President Donohue stood with Governor Cuomo this week as the Governor signed an Executive Order to protect the personal information of public employees. “When the Governor does the right thing we are more than willing to stand shoulder to shoulder with him,” President Donohue said.

The Governor stood strong with CSEA this week, saying “Let me be very clear: the flame of the labor movement burns stronger than ever here in New York. And so long as I am governor of the State of New York, the labor movement will continue to deliver on the promise of the American Dream.”

The Executive Order will protect State employees against harassment and intimidation from anti-union organizers by prohibiting state agencies from disclosing the private information of public employees, including home address, personal phone numbers, and personal email addresses. The Governor said that he will also advance legislation to provide the same protections to municipal employees.

CSEA will continue to fight against these attacks on our members and everything that we stand for.

Stay union. Stay strong. Never Quit.

Congressional Primaries

Congressional Primaries were held on Tuesday.

While most races went as expected, there were a few surprises. In the 14th district, twenty-year incumbent Joseph Crowley was defeated by newcomer Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the Democratic Primary. Prior to his defeat, it was thought that Crowley was a possibility for next Speaker of the House.

In other races, incumbent Republican Dan Donovan defeated challenger Michael Grimm in the 11th district, Antonio Delgado won a seven-way Democratic Primary to challenge incumbent Republican John Faso in the 19th district, Tedra Cobb beat five other Democrats to face off against incumbent Republican Elise Stefanik in the 21st district, and Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle won the Democratic Primary for the 25th district.

Please stay tuned to CSEA’s website for more information on elections throughout the year.

Never Quit Fact of the Week

CSEA was formed in 1910. Agency fees were first required for state negotiating units in 1977, and for all public employees represented by a union in 1992. Agency fees were not made permanent for public employees in New York until 2008.

CSEA was strong before agency fees, and will continue to be strong after the Supreme Court’s decision to declare such fees unconstitutional.